The new League of Nations in Europe will boost football at team level when the competition starts next month, UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin said on Thursday.
The Slovenian leader said that international friendlies failed to offer competitive matches and that a new balance between club and team football was needed.
The League of Nations, which will be held every two years, will pit the 55 European teams against each other in four divisions, which in turn are divided into four groups.
There will be promotion and relegation between each league, while the best division will end up playing a four-team mini tournament in June next year to decide the champion.
Initially met with skepticism because of its seemingly complex format, the new competition had a warmer reception from coaches when the draw was held in January.
“The World Cup showed that there is a great appetite for team football,” Ceferin said in a UEFA statement.
“UEFA has always been aware of this, and of the fact that a team needs more than summer tournaments every two years,” he added, referring to the UEFA EURO and World Cup, which are held every four years.
UEFA organised the competition amid concerns that the public is losing interest in the European qualifiers and the World Cup, which will continue in a short time frame due to the number of mismatches.
FIFA, the governing body of world football, has discussed plans for the tournament to go one step further and to hold a global league of nations, although this has met with opposition from European clubs and leagues.